Arlington County’s Manager Mark Schwartz is proposing a significant salary raise for the Virginia county’s employees in his fiscal year 2023 budget proposal as well as a freeze on the county’s property tax rate.
General employees would see an increase of 4.25%, while public safety employees would see their salaries jump 6.5%.
All full-time workers would also get a one-time gross bonus of $1,600.
“The ability to recruit and retain personnel is our biggest challenge at the moment,” Schwartz said during a county board meeting on Saturday. “Employees are no longer physically tethered to one location, they can pick up and move.”
Inflation driving up the cost of living in Arlington is also adding to the challenge of keeping workers, Schwartz said.
Arlington County employs nearly 4,000 workers. Last year, government employees received a 1% pay increase.
Schwartz is also proposing a freeze on the county’s property tax rate at $1.013 per $100 dollars of assessed real estate value. But with residential property values up 5.8% this year overall, the average household would still be paying 5% more in real estate taxes and fees.
Schwartz said the spending plan would also set aside an additional $4.5 million for programs to combat climate change, another top priority for the county.
Arlington County Public Schools would also be getting an increase of $46 million from last year’s budget.
Schwartz said that overall tax revenues in the county are up 7%. His FY 2023 budget plan would increase spending by 5.5% compared to FY 2022.
Fiscal year 2023 begins July 1, 2022. Schwartz said there will be public hearings on the budget proposal and tax rates toward the end March. He said he expects the county board to adopt the budget in April.